Sorry, Not Sorry!

Forever 21 photo credit sorry not sorry

PC: Forever21.

Lately, I’ve been thinking how to break up with our worst habits.

How can we stop doing things we know are bad for us?

After uncovering that successful women in emerging economies have six habits in common, I find myself thinking about habits all the time. I’ve come to the conclusion that one of the best ways to STOP a bad habit is to adopt a new and better habit, one that works, and makes you feel better.


For example, rather than thinking that I need to eat less to lose weight (I always am), instead I think about eating more: eating more fruits and vegetables so I can’t eat as much of the bad stuff.

A common, self-sabotaging habit you’ve probably noticed in many people, including perhaps yourself: we apologize even though there is literally nothing for us to apologize about. One of my favorite examples of how to replace the bad habit of constantly saying sorry is this one-minute video from the  Not Sorry Pantene Campaign, which shows us how to REFRAME and REPHRASE what we say.

Do you know, or are you one of the women, who preface everything with “Sorry…”? Along with sorry, other common self-diminishing qualifier phrases are, “I don’t know,” and “I’m not sure,” or permission words like, “Can I ask you,” or “May I add…” 

Do you constantly seek permission before you speak? Do you spend time explaining yourself when a simple statement would have been enough? What about withholding your valuable input so that a more dominant voice at the table can speak?

It’s easy to blame to culture and etiquette to explain away self-deprecating behavior, but the reality is that by policing our own voices like this, we slowly destroy our internal confidence and the negatively impact the ways others perceive us.

So to replace this bad habit with a new one: Speak with Confidence. 



  1. Set yourself up to FEEL more confident. Many women have found that the way they dress and how they sit, stand, and even how much space they take up at a table has an impact on their ability to position themselves more confidently and powerfully so they can speak more powerfully.
  2. Practice. Practice being more direct and prefacing your opinion with statements like, “I am confident that I can _________…”, “I know that ____… ”, and “I’m sure about_____.”
  3. Catch yourself apologizing. When do you apologize? What’s occurring that makes you feel you have to minimize what you are saying? if you find yourself apologizing, quickly say, “Actually, I am not sorry, I don’t know even why I said that.”
  4. Praise yourself. Build your confidence by catching yourself NOT apologizing. (Go you!) Positively acknowledge yourself for your new habit, and go ahead – smile! Tell yourself you are awesome, because you are.

We know you’re not sorry. So, go ahead, don’t apologize to yourself or anyone else this week. We’re listening.

The way you communicate can enable or undermine your success. If you want to speak more confidently take a look at the Confidence and Courage chapters of UNDETERRED.  You’ll find a series of questions and actions that will be helpful to you.